Must your soon-to-be ex-spouse return the wedding ring to you?

On Behalf of | May 30, 2023 | Divorce |

When you decided to propose to your current spouse, you probably spent a great deal of time picking out the perfect engagement ring. You also found a complementary wedding bang to pair with the engagement ring during your wedding ceremony. These rings were not cheap, of course.

According to reporting from CNBC, the average engagement ring costs almost $6,000. Your spouse’s accompanying wedding band probably set you back a few hundred dollars more. As a result, you might wonder whether your spouse must return the rings to you when your divorce becomes final.

Tennessee is an equitable distribution jurisdiction

In some states, judges divide marital assets equally between both individuals when a couple divorces. Tennessee is not one of these states, though. In fact, in the Volunteer State, courts must apply principles of equity when deciding who ends up with what.

To equitably distribute marital property, judges consider a number of factors. Among others, these include the following:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The age, health, education, wealth and earning potential of each spouse
  • The contributions each spouse made to the marriage

It is important to recognize that Tennessee’s equitable distribution rules apply to marital property and not to separate property. As a result, during a divorce, both spouses typically can retain ownership of anything they separately own.

Wedding jewelry is separate property

Once a marriage happens, wedding jewelry is a gift that belongs exclusively to the spouse who receives it. Consequently, you probably have no legal claim to your soon-to-be ex-spouse’s engagement ring or wedding band. You also likely cannot receive compensation for the financial value of your spouse’s wedding jewelry.

Ultimately, even though you cannot retake ownership of the engagement ring and wedding band you gave to your soon-to-be ex-spouse, you should prepare yourself to argue for an equitable share of everything the two of your own.


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